Study: Cannabis Protects The Liver From Alcohol-Related Damage

Cannabis has been found to have positive effects on the brain and body. Many started to recognize it as an important medicine for a long list of diseases. Studies have discovered it as a potential treatment for conditions of the liver which include cirrhosis and hepatitis. Experts continue to explore how cannabis can help the liver to function more effectively, even when damaged.

The National Institute of Scientific Research at the University of Quebec has conducted a study regarding the potential of cannabis to prevent some of the harmful effects of alcohol in the human body.

For the study, the research team used the medical records of 320,000 patients who had a history of abusive alcohol consumption. From this, they have discovered that those drinkers who use cannabis have experienced lesser chances of having liver diseases like cirrhosis, steatosis, hepatitis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, which is a type of liver cancer.

Terence Bukong, a hepatologist, and the study’s lead investigator told Tonic that:

“We found that if people are using cannabis in the dependent manner, they actually are much more protected from alcoholic liver disease.”

For dependent cannabis users who drink a lot, there was only a 1.36 percent chance of developing liver diseases. The study suggests that heavy pot use could mean a better defense against alcohol-related disease compared to light or no marijuana use.

Furthermore, according to the study:

“Abusive alcohol use has wellestablished health risks including causing liver disease (ALD) characterized by alcoholic steatosis (AS), steatohepatitis (AH), fibrosis, cirrhosis (AC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Strikingly, a significant number of individuals who abuse alcohol also use Cannabis, which has seen increased legalization globally. While cannabis has demonstrated antiinflammatory properties, its combined use with alcohol and the development of liver disease remain unclear.”

Researchers suspected that these effects were mainly due to the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis.

Likewise, another study also came up with the conclusion that cannabis helps with non-alcoholic liver disease.

According to this study:

“It can be hypothesized that marijuana use may have potential beneficial effects on metabolic abnormalities such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Whether marijuana use plays a role in NAFLD pathogenesis via modification of shared risk factors, or by an independent pathway remains uncertain. In this population-based study, we assessed the association between marijuana use and NAFLD in the US.”

After these studies were published, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control issued new rules declaring that alcoholic beverages cannot be infused with cannabis. This ignores the science that this can actually make the alcohol less harmful. But still, these new rules will not stop people from simultaneously consuming weed and booze.

As compared to drinking alcohol, smoking cannabis has been suggested to roughly 114 times safer by a 2015 study which was published in the journal Scientific Reports. The findings of this study found that among the list of the drugs that were researched, alcohol was the only legal drug as well as the deadliest when it comes to the likelihood of a person dying due to consuming a lethal dose. Heroin, cocaine, tobacco, ecstasy, and meth were the next most deadly substances.

The report states that:

“The results confirm that the risk of cannabis may have been overestimated in the past. At least for the endpoint of mortality, the [margin of exposure] for THC/cannabis in both individual and population-based assessments would be above safety thresholds (e.g. 100 for data based on animal experiments). In contrast, the risk of alcohol may have been commonly underestimated. Currently, the MOE results point to risk management prioritization towards alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs.  The high MOE values of cannabis, which are in a low-risk range, suggest a strict legal regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition approach.

Due to the proven health benefits of cannabis as well as the study-based lower danger associated with its use, the debate regarding the legalization of cannabis is more heated. Many people agreed that its time to end its prohibition